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I was supposed to write a sentence in my workbook. The answer is: 할머니께서 정원에서 쓰레기를 주으십니다

I want to ask isn't it supposed to be 줍으십니다? Or is there a irregular rule?

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  • This is similar to 춥다 becoming 추운 – user17915 Dec 14 '19 at 4:30
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    It is 주우십니다 not 주으십니다. – Klmo Dec 14 '19 at 16:52
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It is an irregular conjugation. The same thing can happen if the stem ends with "ㄷ, ᄇ, ᄉ".

낫다, 붓다, 걷다, 듣다, 돕다, 덥다 are examples. 씻다, 솟다, 닫다, 묻다, 입다, 잡다 are not examples.

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주우십니다 is correct because 줍다 conjugates irregularly regarding ᆸ (the final consonant ㅂ) in 어간 (the stem). This conjugation is called 비읍 불규칙 활용 (or 비읍 변칙 활용).

The rules apply only when a vowel is placed right after ᆸ, and they can be summarized as the following:

  1. ...ᆸ- + -아(...) → ...와(...)
  2. ...ᆸ- + -어(...) → ...워(...)
  3. ...ᆸ- + -으... → ...우...

In short, ᆸ disappears leaving ㅗ or ㅜ when it meets a vowel.

For your example, 줍- + -으시- + -ᆸ니다 becomes 주우십니다 according to the third rule.

Note: Not every verb whose stem ends with ㅂ conjugates irregularly. For example, 집다 conjugates regularly, which means ᆸ does not disappear for 집다.


Sidenote:

In general, verbs and adjectives that do 비읍 불규칙 활용 relate to the disappearance of ㅸ (순경음 비읍). ㅸ was used before 어미 (endings) starting with a vowel (whereas ᆸ has been used before the ending starting with a consonant). The vowels ㅗ and ㅜ (which the initial sound ㅸ finally became) and the final consonant ᆸ (which the final sound ㅸ finally became) indicate the ㅸ existence in the past.

Nonetheless, 줍다 never had ㅸ; the final consonant of its stem was ᆺ (시옷) and ㅿ (반치음 or 반시옷). ㅿ was used before 어미 (endings) starting with a vowel (whereas ᆺ was used before the ending starting with a consonant). Verbs and adjectives that had ㅿ generally do 시옷 불규칙 활용 now. Unlike ㅸ, ㅿ completely disappeared; it left nothing (The initial consonant ㅇ is the placeholder like "zero"). The current rules can be given as the following:

  1. ...ᆺ- + -아(...) → ...아(...)
  2. ...ᆺ- + -어(...) → ...어(...)
  3. ...ᆺ- + -으... → ...으...

In short, ᆺ disappears leaving nothing when it meets a vowel. For example, 긋다 conjugates as 그어, 그으니, 그으십니다, ...; 낫다 as 나아, 나으니, 나으십니다, .... Thus, before 줏다 became 줍다 after ㅿ had disappeard, it seems to have conjugated as 주어, 주으니, 주으십니다, .... The grammar for this verb changed because of the form change.

Why did the basic form become 줍다? There is an assumption that speakers wrongly recognized 줍다 as the basic form because the vowel ㅜ could take the place of the next syllable's ㅡ (For example, 주으니 could be pronounced as 주우니). I reckon that such an assumption is convincing.

More details (in Korean) can be found from this and 우리말샘.

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